Matt Riley/Virginia Athletics
Ahead of Saturday's matchup against Old Dominion, Virginia head coach Tony Elliott provided an injury update on fifth-year safety Darrius Bratton, who missed the Illinois game with a bone bruise and a high-ankle sprain.
"We're hoping not a long-term issue. He played in the first game and man, love him because he gave us everything he had, but he's just not healthy," Elliott said in his weekly press conference on Tuesday. "He's dealing with a bone bruise and a high-ankle sprain. So that takes a little bit of time. So we're hoping that it won't be long term. He didn't do much last week practice-wise. He's out there this week moving around. But what I told him and what I told Kelly [Pugh], our head trainer – I said, 'look, it's not fair to put him out on the field if he's not healthy because he can't protect himself.' There were some times in that first game that he was compensating and he almost got himself hurt. I'm hoping the next couple weeks we'll see him back."
Bratton is still listed on the UVA depth chart for the ODU game, but Jonas Sanker has been moved from starting strong safety to the starting SPUR safety position over Bratton, who is listed as the backup. Antonio Clary is the starting strong safety on this week's depth chart.
Elliott also addressed the status of punter Daniel Sparks, who punted six times in UVA's loss at Illinois before exiting the game with an injury. Kicker Brendan Farrell took over punting duties for the remainder of the game, punting three times.
"He's doing good, so we're hopeful that we'll get him this week," Elliott said of Sparks. Brendan Farrell is a serviceable punter, but it is far from ideal to have the same player handling field goals, extra points, kickoffs, and punts, as would be the case for Farrell if Sparks is unable to play on Saturday. Sparks is still listed as the only punter on the UVA depth chart.
Senior defensive back Coen King has been out since going down with an elbow injury during a preseason scrimmage at Scott Stadium on August 22nd. He missed the first two games of the season, but King has been working his way back for the last three weeks and he made an appearance on the UVA depth chart for the first time this season, sliding in as the third strong safety below Antonio Clary and Chayce Chalmers.
READ MORE: Virginia Football: Defense Shows Encouraging Signs at Illinois
Senior tackle Jonathan Leech appears to be healthy again suffering a thumb injury at the end of fall camp. He made a brief appearance in the game at Illinois and is on the depth chart for the first time for the Old Dominion game, listed as the backup to Logan Taylor at right tackle. UVA is reportedly sticking with the same starting five on the offensive line: LT McKale Boley, LG John Paul Flores, C Ty Furnish, RG Derek Devine, and RT Logan Taylor. Sophomore Charlie Patterson has replaced Colby McGhee as Boley's backup at left tackle, moving over from the backup spot at right tackle, which is now occupied by Jonathan Leech.
Fifth-year running back Ronnie Walker Jr. continues to work back from his injury suffered back in the spring. He is an active participant in practice, but has yet to make an appearance on the depth chart or in a game. The same goes for Miami transfer Cody Brown, who is also working back from an injury he suffered late in the preseason. UVA continues to list only two tailbacks on the depth chart – Perris Jones and Mike Hollins – but true freshman Xavier Brown has gotten carries in both of Virginia's games so far as well.
Follow CavaliersNow on Twitter
Follow CavaliersNow on Facebook
See more Virginia football news and content: Virginia Football on Sports Illustrated
See more Virginia sports news and content: Virginia Cavaliers on Sports Illustrated
Ben James Goes Bogey-Free, UVA Men's Golf Wins Streamsong Invitational
Four-Star Elijah Gertrude Commits to Virginia Basketball
Virginia Women's Basketball 2022-2023 Schedule Announced
WATCH: OC Des Kitchings Addresses UVA's Offensive Struggles Ahead of ODU
Virginia Men's Soccer Cruises to 5-0 Win Over La Salle
Sophomore Mike Green 'No Longer Active' With Virginia Football Team
Virginia Basketball: 2022-2023 ACC Schedule Released
Matt Newton is the managing editor and publisher of Cavaliers Now. Follow him on Twitter @mattynewtss
Matt Riley/Virginia Athletics